Prelude to Stupidity

Thanksgiving Regoosed

PRELUDE TO STUPIDITY
by Christine Ford

Working with young minds, even young minds that are somewhat compromised by various forms of Learning Disabilities, Autism, and Emotional Disabilities, can be a genuine challenge. The children of today just, plain and simple, think differently than we of the pre-internet-in-every-home-era think. Their minds have been tuned by society, schools, and the web to research, to find bits and pieces of data, and to reconstruct those facts into a finished product. Gone into ancient history are the days of curling up surrounded by books, loose-leaf notebook paper, highlighters, pens and pencils and searching for those bits of information that would be pulled out, reworded and reworked, and used to create the end product of a gem of knowledge. Now all you have to do is type a word in Search, and voile! Instantly, all the places to find everything you ever wanted to know about…. Anything! Choose a topic; the internet is a source and resource for boundless information. Incredible, in so vastly many ways, I agree. The world of information is at our fingertips, but what about the world of knowledge?

Hmm, information vs knowledge; a study in words. What would a good teacher’s article be without a couple definitions to bore the readers? I have printed only the meat and potatoes of “knowledge” and “information” to keep you from falling asleep, but they are key to the argument I am presenting! According to Oxford Dictionaries-© Oxford University Press:

Knowledge:
1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation

Information:
1. facts provided or learned about something or someone
2. what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things

Some may think the parsing out of the difference between those two words is nit-picking; if that is your reaction, then please, I beg you, continue to read, because you have already fallen under the spell that I am referring to. I promise I will do my very best not to turn this article into a rant, but will simply point a finger in the direction of a trend that I, as an educator with some thirty five years of experience under my belt, have watched in horror expand and increase, and see as the furthering of the devolution of the joy of learning, the agape of discovery, and the acquisition of true knowledge in exchange for the shallow mere gathering and compiling of information.

Let me introduce you to one aspect of this growing knowledge vs information dilemma that I have experienced first-hand. My special needs students are able to develop slide presentations in Google Docs at lightning speed, cruising around the world-wide-web, clipping and importing, twisting and turning images and words, print as well as audio, to compile into a finished product. On a positive note, this does help level the playing field for my challenged kids. They are actually helping me become familiar with some technology that was prior Greek to me and they love it; what a boost to their self-confidence. The students in the General Education classroom are even more adept at weaving astounding presentations from facts, pictures and audio blips that they gather and assimilate, cut and paste, into a finished product that looks professional, can be extremely informative, and is visually pleasing as well as auditorily stimulating. Wow, that is incredible, you might say and I agree! Look at how they are utilizing technology to learn!

But wait; is that truly learning? Take those very same students. Give them paper and a pencil, a dictionary and even a paragraph or sentence starter. (For those of you who are not educators, that is a prompt of several words on the topic to get them started) Ask them to write, in their own words, what they have just “created” with the aid of technology, to write a narrative, an essay, even a single paragraph about that which they have just learned, and what do you suppose you get? I can give you an answer from experience. You get, for the most part, nothing, and I don’t mean nothing as in the “No-thing” of the Occult world. You get zilch, nada, squat!

They have collected the information, arranged it in pretty patterns, and perhaps even set it to music, (Please refer back to definition 2 of information) but very little has been processed as knowledge, made their own, stored in their memory, or kept to strengthen the foundation upon which new awareness and knowing are built. The final step in learning is totally missing: the experience of turning that gathered information into knowledge, the practical understanding of a subject, the awareness gained by experience of a fact. (knowledge, definitions 1 and 2) The knowledge just doesn’t quite make the leap to their own personal stash of knowing; it remains locked in the information stage on the electronic memory of the computer.

The growing delusion that they are truly acquiring knowledge in this way and are embarking upon the path of discovery and agape of learning; that taking parts and pieces of “other’s” works and combining them into a collage of color and sound, as beautiful as the end product might be, and stopping with simply the gathering of information absolutely terrifies me. Back in the good old days, this was called plagiarism. By today’s standards, it is creativity, learning, and yes, innovation, to tie into Dr. Stickler’s current article in Spiritual Climate. This shift deeply saddens me, especially as I project into the future the complications of the dumbing down humanity by turning education into a process of information gathering rather than one of acquiring knowledge.

Alarmingly, this trend is not only happening in the lower levels of education, as I can state again from personal experience. I teach with a brilliant young lady who is a genuine educator. She has the heart of a true teacher, the ability to impart knowledge to her students, as is evidenced by the growth and excitement in her classroom; she too teaches special needs children. She is not a “hot house” teacher, but spent four solid years in a face to face university setting, learning and practicing the techniques being taught, acquiring a profound base of knowledge as to the how’s and why’s a student learns. Recently she was bitten by the bug of furthering her education and signed up for Graduate School to get her Master’s Degree in Administration; an admirable endeavor. A school and its teachers can only be as strong as the administrative support behind them; knowing that gifted teachers with a true understanding and knowledge of teaching techniques and pedagogy are not leaving the profession, but are dedicated to staying and expanding their knowledge, is a bright spot for me in an otherwise dismal environment.

Having experienced a solid education in the knowledge of teaching while obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree, my friend was eager to be back in the setting of exchanging ideas, paging through books and highlighting important words, having challenging discussions and exploring face to face with like minds the philosophy of administration. Her first indication of the impersonality and use of technology that would make her graduate experience so different from that of her undergraduate experience, one of information gathering vs acquisition of knowledge, was upon being accepted and attempting to enroll.

Phone calls were not even an option; she was unable to get through to a live person. Everything was done online, with no personal contact at all; a video tutorial was sent to her by the university online as to the process of enrolling online; she created her account and was warmly welcomed electronically. She was invited to a Forum for discussion online, her welcome note came from her professor online as well as her twenty page Syllabus. She was astounded and dismayed, when attempting to order text books, that there were no hold in your hand, dog-ear and highlight, write notes in the margins text books available; only… you guessed it…. online digital copies. She meets with an in person group of twelve students one night a week for four hours; other than that, all work and communication are done online. A report is due each week relating to the subject discussed the previous week, but that report can be as simple as “discussed during class” and submitted online, as long as one attended. This goes on for five intense weeks, and then that Course is complete, and she is ready to move on to the next class. I mentioned “hothouse” previously; perhaps you have a bit more of an understanding of what I meant. Needless to say, my friend was disappointed by the lack of encounter and exchange in this new model and method of higher education, and we talked about where the experience (knowledge) comes in to the mix; I didn’t have much in the way of comfort to offer her, as I have watched this shift spreading and encompassing the entire arena of education for years.

The state of Arizona is in abysmal shape in education; 50th in about every category 1. In Arizona, We have Won the Race to the Bottom. Teachers are leaving the state at an alarming rate; vacancies are being filled by full time substitutes and teachers who are have obtained their teaching certification by the “hothouse” method described above; “Come on down, if you have a Bachelor’s degree in anything, combining that and your work experience, we can turn you into a bona fide, certified teacher in eighteen months, and you will be guaranteed job security, because we have chased all the true educators away.” Sorry if I sound a tiny bit jaded; I remember the days when being a teacher was a distinguished, respected, and earned career with at least four knowledge packed years in learning methods and techniques of reaching kids and long hours spent having the experience of applying them, seeing what worked and what didn’t, making the knowledge your own through experience. If you really believe the majority of the teachers turned out by this “hothouse” method of information swallowing and regurgitating have the knowledge and wisdom to be responsible for the education of your child or grandchild, give me a call; I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Frank Zappa

There are more reasons than I care to go into right now for the death throes of education in the state of Arizona, as well as the sad state of education across the great country of ours in general; that is not the focus of this article. What I do know, in the depths of my heart and Soul, is that underlying it all, be it educating our elementary school children, or teaching our teachers to teach, the swing of that gigantic pendulum from regarding the acquisition of knowledge as the hallmark of education to the acceptance of the electronic compilation of information wrapped up in a sensorily attractive package is harkening the slide down that slippery slope into the devolved state of even more stupidity than is evident in society right now. True scholars are a dying breed, and I mourn the loss of the agape of knowledge being turned into the cheap sensorium of the information age. We, as a country, and as humanity, fashioned in the likeness and image of The One, are more grand, noble and inquisitive than that. We are selling ourselves, and the future of mankind, short in the name of information and innovation.

May you grow in your ability to make the information you gather your own and, like an Alchemist turning his personality from lead into gold, turn that base chunk of coal of information into the precious diamond of knowledge.

Blessings,
Christine Ford
Editor, Spiritual Climate Newsletter




Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

 


 

Notes:

  1. start here: ‘Report: Arizona ranks among worst states in nation for public school education funding’ by Jessica Suerth, 2015 September 28, link here – http://ktar.com/story/668359/report-arizona-ranks-among-worst-states-in-nation-for-public-school-education-funding/
you know you want to do it:

Tangled Webs

By Christine Ford

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive.

Sir Walter Scott
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

Words! Written centuries ago by a Scottish gentleman, so long ago that the word “practise”, spelled according to his culture and time, was autocorrected to “practice” the first time I typed it. Words we heard repeatedly as children, or at least I did in my Anglo-Saxon/Polish/Croatian upbringing. Words I passed on to my children and continue to repeat to my granddaughter and students. Words that were etched in my heart and mind to become a motto to live by and still remain a silently whispered mantra , albeit sometimes a challenge, to live my life in truth as I expand my horizons in an ever shifting culture that is rampant with deception and lies.

Sadly, the tangled web of deception has become a consensus reality, the accepted norm of today’s society; this deception is strangling the very essence of what we, as a Nation, stand for. The blind acceptance, the ignore-ance of deception, is a malignant cancer desecrating the principles of truth, freedom and democracy upon which the United States of America was created, hurtling us into an illusion of dismal quasi-reality that the masses unthinkingly buy into, unquestioningly react within and blindly believe in, too preoccupied or perhaps too programmed to even question.

Are people totally oblivious and unaware of this hoax, this game of smoke and mirrors that they are participating in every minute of every day in multiple facets of their lives? What has happened that has made the citizens of the great Untied States of America give up, stop questioning, cease truth seeking, and become zombie-like puppets sleepwalking through the most beautiful creation of all… LIFE? When did questioning and demanding answers to inquiries while expecting intelligent, truthful responses succumb to the blasé’ acceptance of the apathetic sham of the current state of affairs?

Do they care, are they even aware, that their vote, one of the guaranteed and protected rights in this incredible country of the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” doesn’t really matter anymore, because the choices are rigged from the get go; that the politician with the biggest monetary support is going to win, whether most qualified and best suited for the position or not? With Citizen’s United in control, between the Koch brothers’ campaign contributions and the lobbying of Big Money, the Middle Class, Grass Roots candidate doesn’t stand a chance. We hear (words) campaign promises made that are not kept, but then we are told (words) oh my, of course, yes, the promises were, in fact, kept, and you see, this is how…when the reality is a wishy-washy, semi-sort of-kinda like bill is passed, with padding and jargon that makes it appear on the surface with a casual perusal that the will of the people has been served, when the reality is the will of the Almighty Dollar has won out once again. Have we, as a society and as humanity in general, been brainwashed into believing that this demise of light and freedom is inevitable; that there is nothing we can do to make a difference?

What direction are Public Schools, the institutions that educate and prepare our next generation to take over the reins and control of this great country, heading? Short, sarcastic, probably somewhat biased response from a 40 year plus educator: the institution of Public Schools across the United States is failing miserably, disintegrating into a mass confusion of splintered ideologies, most of which rest upon the premise of accountability being defined as an endless maze of standardized testing, creating an anxiety ridden learning environment for not only the students, who have become “score scared“ but the teachers as well, having salaries, in some cases, tied to pay for performance to the point that they are actually cheating and changing answers on the tests, AZ Republic: Diane Douglas asks AG to review test irregularities.

Unfortunately, in Arizona, we are headed down a particularly slippery slope! We are told (words) by our officials that our children and their education is a priority, yet our school system in Arizona is 47th in the Nation in spending per pupil, $3,000 per pupil below the national average. They tell us (words) that money doesn’t create better schools, but how can a gross lack of it, a decrease in what is already being spent with tragic results, possibly make a disintegrating institution better? Is it any wonder our brightest and best graduates in education are fleeing to other states to begin their teaching careers at salaries on the average $5,000 more per year?  The “Dark Money” of the Koch brothers et. al., is infiltrating and influencing not only the on the Federal level, but within State governments as well, making a mockery of the mere thought that we have any control over funding, yet we listen to arguments and lip service (words) from our elected officials, nothing gets resolved, and the slow, steady spiral into inferiority, indeed bordering on the collapse of public education, continues in this, the greatest nation in the world.

Why do we, as a society, look the other way and permit this to go on? What has happened to the initiative of discovery and expectation of superiority, the pride in being competitively at the top in education, the privileges and rights that come with being an American fought for and forged in blood by our Forefathers?

We are battered on all sides by unrest and distrust, lies and deception. In an attempt to convince us that the woes of our economy are rooted in deficit spending and wasteful handouts to slackers by programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and Medicaid, the Republican stronghold of Congress is threatening to cannibalize the meager income of Seniors who worked, invested and planned, putting them in dire straits with nowhere to turn for help. They would penalize the disabled who have no other means of sustenance, while padding the coffers of the top .5% by not charging them the fair share of taxes they should be paying. We are discovering that Police Departments across the country, the very institutions we were taught to trust, believe in, and turn to for protection, are seemingly with reckless abandon slaughtering young Black men. Advertisers have engineered ways to sell us goods while hiding the truth under twisted advertising campaigns to make us believe we are getting one thing, when the truth is quite the opposite, and jokes are being made about it right out in the open. See: Dilbert on technology here.

The Media blares on, shouting out semi-truths, disguised as facts, while the unquestioning public listeners wait with baited breath for the next scandal of bus drivers holding students hostage, priests molesting innocents, the impending doom of the sin of marijuana being made legal by druggies, the horrors of LGB community taking over the sacred union of marriage and the scandal of wanton women running around getting abortions! And we, as a collective society, are held captive; enthralled, mesmerized, preoccupied by the horrors being presented to us, enslaving us and leaving us ignorant to the more destructive force of the undercurrent of deception and lies, the tangled web that is being spun around us, suffocating us, while we move on with our busy, over productive, lives.

How did we, humanity, the Jewel in the Crown of Creation, allow ourselves, collectively, to become ensnared in such a tangled web of deception? Is there a way to climb out of the cave of shadows referenced by Plato, and experience the light of truth, clarity and awareness rather than the shadow world we are being coerced into believing is reality? Based upon the teachings of the Western Mystery Schools, and the renderings of Dr. Strickler that I have been privileged to experience over the past 23 years, yes, there most certainly is a way out, but it is not easy; it takes work, time, desire, sweat and tears, but reward of the freedom, liberation and truth that comes as a result of that effort is a priceless gem. And we must ask ourselves and answer truthfully the profound, searing question…

Are we the deceived, or are we the deceivers?

The simple part of the answer is that we have allowed ourselves to be programmed to accept anything we see, hear, read, or are told, as truth. We seem to think that because we see it, hear it, or read it, the material presented must be based in factual events or circumstances. Nothing can be further from the truth; anyone can say or print anything! Come on!!! Seldom does it occur to one anymore to put in a pause, to pursue a weighing of options, an exploration of A or not A, a researching into the source to determine its validity or reliability. The all-encompassing power of media and technology is beyond frightening, and with the ease of communication and blurring of lines of security and privacy, the manipulation of the truth and the power of deception has become stronger than it has ever been, creating that tangled web that we, as a collective society, have allowed to be spun out of apathy and laziness.

Becoming aware of what is, and what is not, is the faculty of discernment, and is a cornerstone for the teachings that Rev Strickler gives voice to. Discernment isn’t learned overnight, but by practice, by incessant questioning; by checking into the “whys and why nots” of an event, one can develop a keen sense of being able to smell the shit, even if it is camouflaged by gold paint and glitter and has flowers growing on top of it! Self-conscious awareness, intentional discernment, not accepting every damn thing we see, read or hear as fact, but discovering and uncovering the truth behind the words; that is the opening to the reality of the situation. So the first, simple step is pausing to ask yourself, “Is it real, or is it Memorex?” for those of us old enough to remember.

This leads very logically to the next step, making peace with and directing our Memory… enter stage left, Subconsciousness!… That loyal, forgiving part of each and every one of us that sits patiently waiting for a suggestion, for a direction, without a single original thought or idea of “her” own, counting on us (Self-consciousness) to feed “her” the truth, to give “her” the low down, so “she” can duplicate, replicate and bring into being the thoughts and words upon which our reality is built. “She” will loyally repeat and duplicate any thought or suggestion that you (Self-consciousness) give her, whether it be based in truth or not. She will weave the tangled web of lies, or the symmetrical, clear web of truth; it all depends upon what you place in the repertoire for her to work with. And it all depends upon what you, as Self Consciousness, have determined through discernment to be the fact of the matter.

As a result of this complex, yet simple, exchange, subconsciousness unquestioningly does what she was created for: habits are built; patterns are established and become rooted in our psyche, actions and reactions are constructed, reinforced and repeated, personal beliefs are created from what you, as Self-consciousness, hear, read, believe as truth, and mirror to your Subconscious, which faithfully and methodically reproduces into the web of your life. What you place there within your Subconscious, based upon how well you have honed your skill of discernment, determines whether your personal web of reality will become the tangled web of blindly accepted lies and deception that you are being fed by the government, media, advertisers and Big Money, and gobble up without a second thought, or an organized, orderly, pure web of beauty and truth based upon that which you have taken the time, effort and personal responsibility to discern as true and factual.

If you are shaking your head and saying, Wow, I just don’t have the time to deal with it all this discernment crap because of my job, my kids, my spouse, my life, my social media, I have made my point! Humanity, as we currently are programmed in this society, is so overwhelmed and enslaved by merely making it from one paycheck to another, that we (Self-conscious) have fallen into the trap (tangled web) of lying (deceiving) to ourselves (Subconsciousness) and the Matrix continues to reproduce itself in full glory! If you are saying, Shit, this seems like an awful lot of work, Bingo, you got it! It is work; it is the Great Work, undertaken by those who believe that there is hope, there is a way out of the Matrix, and that we can take back our Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, but it will not happen without intentional action of the people.

And so, in closing, I simply ask you to ponder this question once again; Are we the deceived, or are we the deceivers? May you grow in discernment, wisdom and understanding of what seeds you are planting and cultivating in your own personal Subconscious garden, so that your web becomes one of freedom and truth, not a tangled one of deceptive, self-generated enslavement.

Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

you know you want to do it:

Spiritude Check!

by Christine Ford

While driving to school the other day, I heard on the radio an ad that made me perk up my ears. It was for a Spa located in Gilbert, AZ, and the name of it was – Spiritude -. Hmmm, I thought, what a cool word! Dr. Strickler has quite a talent for making up descriptive words during his Saturday evening knowledge lectures, and we, his students, have come to anticipate with almost childlike glee the gems he comes up with…Genuinosity, idiotsyncrasy, and most recently, tonguefused (instead of “confused’ while stumbling over words) to share a few… so I have been conditioned to attend to unique verbiage over the years. As I had been contemplating the topic for my upcoming Spiritual Climate article, the word Spiritude immediately resonated deeply within me and I knew my topic had found me.

Spiritude is not a word dwelling in print, as of yet anyway, in Merriam Webster, but the suffix “tude”, indicates a condition, state or quality. The word Spiritude therefore, is a created word indicating the condition, quality or state of Spirit. Did you ever ponder the quality/condition/state of your Spirit? Probably not something the normal Joe spends too much time thinking about, but the readers of Spiritual Climate being more introspective than most, quite possibly have had some thoughts in this regard.

In essence, the state/condition of your Spirit is perfection, but your life experiences and reflection of your Spirit, as your Soul extends from Spirit into this most dense of physical manifestations called Earth to gain experience and grow, are far from perfect. Spiritude, as interpreted by this writer, is more indicative of your relationship to your Spirit, the quality or condition of Spirit that your consciousness selects to express through your experiences, choices, relationships and interactions with fellow travelers along this journey. With the high speed, do it all now, never a moment to rest and breathe hectic pace of life we are subjected to day in and day out, how in the world can I find a moment to consider the condition of Spirit that I am reflecting into this negative plane of existence, you may ask? Based upon some insight I have gleaned over years of personal introspection and discovery, I query back, how can you possibly choose to remain mindlessly oblivious to the small still voice that ever beckons, ignoring the nudges and whisperings that urge you to question the seeming futility of the day in and day out struggle of just getting by?

Having personally gone through the frustration of countless shades of the overwhelming futility of the “Life’s a bitch and then you die” syndrome in the past, I had chalked it up to aging. Recently, however, most likely in preparation for writing this article as I look back on it, I have had the unique experience of exchanging thoughts with some incredible younger friends and family, who have expressed their discontent with the state of their Spiritude without being consciously aware of What was speaking through them. (HINT! Ding, ding, ding, ding! That’s how it works!) I have come to realize this feeling of unfulfilled destiny, of time slipping by while waiting for life to happen is not an age related phenomena, but rather a shared expression of a common discontent crossing all boundaries of age, gender, and profession. It is a direct reflection of the illusion of separation from Spirit and Soul.

We, as a society in general, feel as though we have no choices, that we are tied irrevocably to the job we need to desperately cling to in order to repay the monetary debts we have incurred. The more we do, the better we perform, the more we are expected to produce and give, until there is no life left in living, there is only the stark repetition of daily drama reenacted ad nauseum, reducing us to nothing more than robotic slaves at the mercy of having to “earn a living”. Strange twist of words, when you really give it some thought, isn’t it? That living is something to be earned? Living is a gift of the Life Power, not an item to be earned. How subtly we shape our beliefs by planting seemingly innocent phrases in the fertile soil of our subconsciousness which then does all it knows to do, duplicate whatever we plant there… And so we do, in fact, in the very truest sense, reap what we sow.

The life that Spirit sent your Soul into existence to experience in this incarnation is far more meaningful and beautiful than the dull trap of the endless spinning of the gerbil wheel in the cage that it feels as if you are imprisoned within. How to escape is the question; when in the world can I make time in my already filled schedule to do anything else? There is an answer, one that I have learned from Dr. Strickler, which he gives freely to all his students. By practicing this formula for years now, I can state with “genuinosity” that I am more in touch with and more able to truly reflect my Spiritude as I move through my daily activities.

Start by simply giving yourself the gift of fifteen minutes each day to quiet the incessant babbler in your head in a still, calm place without distractions. Turn your attention inward, asking sincere, genuine questions of yourself, the direction you need to move into, and the choices of experience that stand as open doors before you. Listen with receptivity, constantly seeking, but don’t expect a voice to boom down from on high and give you a ready-made answer in 140 characters or less. Pause, be still and open to hearing the urgings of your Spirit as it speaks through Soul. Initiate contact by knocking; as your hand reaches up, a hand will reach down to guide you, but first you must make the choice to make contact. Then by taking action one small step at a time, you can begin to make your escape from the drudgery of darkness and move into the light of a clear reflection of your Spiritude.

By giving yourself permission to take the time to listen to the urgings of Spirit as it speaks through Soul weaving into the fabric of your life in your daily exchanges with those around you, you can raise your awareness of the direction that your Spirit via Soul is beckoning you to take as you traverse your course through life and begin truly living rather than merely earning a living.

May you more clearly and with active awareness increase your connection to and reflection of your true Spiritude, so your way becomes more meaningful and your clarity of discernment grows into a knowing that permeates every aspect of your life. – Christine Ford

Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

Brain Injury Awareness Month


you know you want to do it:

THE PERSONAL IMPOTENCE of ENGINEERED ADULT AUTISM – part 2 –

_______________________________

THE PERSONAL IMPOTENCE OF ENGINEERED ADULT AUTISM December 7, 2007

By Christine Ford,

I had quite an enlightening experience while doing some real live in person Christmas shopping. I went out to the Mall in the hopes of lifting my spirits a little, as I was suffering from that recurring stigma of Holiday Blues that seems to increase for me as each season rolls around. Having done most of my Christmas shopping online this year, and having items conveniently shipped to Florida for my annual return to share this time with my children and grandchild, I hadn’t spent too much time in the stores with the holiday shoppers joyfully perusing purchases to be shared with loved ones! (Hehehe! Tongue in cheek, but a thought!) Noting that perhaps I was missing the “human element” this year, feeling somewhat like a virtual recluse, I thought it might behoove me, and my dour mood, to get right in there elbow to elbow, heart to heart with the crowds and hum Christmas Carols while pondering the ideal gifts for family and friends.

After experiencing three hours of rudeness from customers as well as merchants, after standing in lines to ask questions and getting no answers, after trying to find out the real prices of items, where they were located in the store, if there were any left, and being met with stupidity, insolence, ignorance and just plain hostility at every turn, I reluctantly sulked back to my computer cave to complete my online purchases in the sanctity, sanity and safety of my private little abode. What I experienced, while being depressing and somewhat alarming, was at the same time a real shocker and an eye opener! I find myself asking just exactly what “IT” was that I stepped into and attempted to become a part of!

I am still not at this point sure, but I can tell you all that the overwhelming sadness, the lack of joy, the hollowness and emptiness that cried out to me from the shallow eyes of those I encountered was startling and evoked a poignant feeling of grief and hopelessness within me that is difficult to express. On the other hand, the extreme pushiness, the feeling of “I’m the only one here, get out of my way or else”, the intolerance and non-communication of those bags of blood as they mindlessly swarmed in what appeared to be holding patterns in a massive airport was frightening! The herd moving blindly and totally oblivious of those around them through the labyrinth of aisles without a pause to look or ponder, like rats in a maze, literally running over anyone who dared to break the rhythm left me angry and frustrated, to the point that I had to just leave and sit in my car for fifteen minutes before I could even drive home. I felt as though I were walking through a mass of lifeless, physically animated corpses, whose minds were numb and whose hearts were dead.

There was no acknowledgement or recognition of human kindness, no exchanged glances or greetings, no “excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, or “pardon me” as they forced their way through narrow aisles of stacked items, plodding behind shopping carts moving towards the next item to be numbly placed within the cart, just another item crossed off the list. I was reminded of the Discovery series I have watched where the ants start marching in a stream and that forward momentum stops at nothing, but devours any that may pause or come into its path. It was almost as if these torrents of “people” were communicating somehow on an internal channel like the Borg in Star Trek, with one mass mind devoid of any individuality, driven only by the direction of the flow, carried forward by the get what I want syndrome of gratification. This leads me to ask what has changed, because though I know I struggle with this sensation every year, I have never felt such a slam dunk of sorrow, hopelessness and emptiness in my life.

In the past I’ve written my pre-holiday gloom off to various “osophies and syndromes”, such as the Scrooge syndrome, the old lady crabbiness complex, the Christmas is for children philosophy, the I’m too busy for this crap camp, and the ever faithful, but always true, when did Christmas become nothing more than a merchandising holiday rant. I have in the past, however, been able to somehow overcome and sublimate these feelings of emptiness and shallowness and find a glimmer of hope within the eyes and hearts of those around me. Perhaps it is the romantic part of me that did that, creating joy when it didn’t exist at all, an illusion to lighten the season for myself. Perhaps there is no change in the external circumstances; the crowds may be the same as always, the beauty and joy may be in the air, and I just don’t perceive it; perhaps the change has taken place in me. At this point I cannot determine where the change originates; within the masses, within my perception of them, or from within me. I am surmising that it is a combination of all three, but I have some thoughts as to why it may be happening!

Over the past couple months, I have had the pleasure and delight to hear stories from some of my “Elders”. I hope they don’t take deference to my calling them that, I mean it in the most respectful and reverent way. Though I won’t mention names, at our weekly meditation nights we are blessed with the presence of an incredible couple in their mid 70’s and one beautifully wise woman in her mid 80’s. They have relayed to us memories and experiences of their childhood and growing years that have become true eye openers to us as to the changes that have taken place within all areas of life: familial, societal, governmental, political, ethical, moral, religious, educational, technological… The list could go on and on. I have found that recently my mother, who is approaching her 85th birthday, has been strolling down memory lane with me in her conversations more often as well. From the tales of these experienced and intelligent, caring individuals, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge as to the comparison of the way PEOPLE interacted “then” and how they interact “now”. I have also come to the realization that the manner in which people communicate and hold each other in regard in our present society is dramatically different than it was in my childhood and younger years. Having come to a tentative conclusion as to the why of it, I’d like to share this with you for your consideration and pondering.

It seems to me that what we are experiencing today within all levels of society appears to be a gross depersonalization of humanity, a trend towards self-absorbed behavior that negates interpersonal relationships and makes a mockery of intimacy and true sharing of oneself with others. As this thought turned over in my mind, I quickly became aware of the similarity there was to this premise and the definition of autism which afflicts the children that I teach each day. Autism is a brain disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, causing restrictive, repetitive behavior. The New Latin word “autismus” (English translation autism) comes from the Greek word “autos” and is used to mean morbid self-admiration, referring to “autistic withdrawal of the patient to his fantasies, against which any influence from outside becomes an intolerable disturbance.” Sounds alarmingly like those zombies I experienced while shopping, complete with their inability to see beyond the limiting boundaries of their self defined focus of attention.

May I digress for a moment to be sure that those of you reading this understand that there is a gross difference between autism spectrum disorders, the autism the children I teach exhibit, and what I am suggesting that the masses have been induced into. My children have beautiful moments of feeling and interaction; times when you can reach right in and almost hear their thoughts. They communicate on their own level and in their own very unique ways, using phrases and events they relate to and are familiar and comfortable with to survive in a world they are completely overwhelmed by, not consciously a part of, but this is NOT the type of manufactured autism which I refer to as the stigma that is enveloping and silencing individuals in today’s world. I am merely using the etymology of the word “autism” to convey a point. Let me here refer you to a pdf document in which the use of the word autism brilliantly described the state of education within Economics: Editorial: Still Autistic Finance, by George M. Frankfurter.

In the 1940’s, Leo Kanner, coined the term “Refrigerator Mothers” as an explanation of autism. His premise proposed that cold, frigid, uncaring parents actually created autism a within child. In a 1949 paper, he suggested autism may be related to a “genuine lack of maternal warmth”, noted that fathers rarely stepped down to indulge in children’s play, and observed that children were exposed from “the beginning to parental coldness, obsessiveness, and a mechanical type of attention to material needs only…. They were left neatly in refrigerators that did not defrost. Their withdrawal seems to be an act of turning away from such a situation to seek comfort in solitude.”

Now I know for a fact that this theory is not true, for the parents of my children with autism are some of the most dynamic, communicative, loving individuals you would ever want to meet. Their daily, in fact hourly sacrifices and commitment to the well being of their kids is a whole article that I will write someday. Leo Kanner’s premise is unaccepted in today’s standards as a “cause” of autism but consider for a moment his premise when applied to the societal “parents” leading us in the political, governmental, educational, religious and technological arenas. The coldness, unwillingness to listen, uncaring decision making, demands of more time and more energy with no reward; couldn’t this be the syndrome which Leo Kanner, before his time and missing the mark a bit, may have been referencing in an almost prophetic manner? Have the parents to whom we have entrusted our spiritual, psychological, emotional, mental, physical and financial well being sold us down the river?

Have we slowly become a society of desensitized humanoids creating our sterile, unfeeling prison cells of separation while we exist only within the fantasy of our realms of purely perception? Are we increasingly becoming further isolated and withdrawn from human verbal exchange while being so addicted to technology and constant auditory and visual stimulation of mechanical devices such as television, video games and the like that we have no desire or use for the sound of the human voice, the touch of the human hand, the sharing of the warm gold of the human heart? The more this thought is mulled over in my mind, the more concerned I have become that perhaps there is no hope for the masses of humankind who choose the illusion of the Matrix over the realities of Truth. The Spirituality and beauty that was once the foundation of this sacred holy season has been denigrated and blasphemed by the engineered society, economy, religion and government; just as the U.S. Constitution written by our Founding Fathers is being slowly annihilated and ignored with glee by the same perpetrators. The community and family of the past has been reduced to dinners on the run and cell phone conferences, the joy and love shared at this beautiful season as well as year round has given way to a compressed, harried exchange of “Seasons Greetings” and Happy Holidays”, to the point where one feels politically incorrect and almost ashamed to shout a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

The sad reality of this has almost hammered me flat this holiday season as person after person, young and old, comment, “Does it seem like Christmas to you? I just can’t believe it’s really that time of year.” This common thread of thought expresses in a vague but concerned manner that there is just something missing, “things” just aren’t right this year. Yes, I agree 100%, something just isn’t right about the feel of the energy and the vibration this year. I do believe that it has to do with the attitudes and emotional states of the PEOPLE who are burdened by time crunches due to increased productivity, money tightness due to financial fiascos of lending institutions, dwindling personal exchanges due to modern technology advances, sadness of loss of young lives in a war that has commonly become referred to as the “Theater” by politicians and the isolation of feeling as if no one cares, no one can make a change, no one has any power, and no one has any voice.

Enter the age of engineered adult autism! Can you say PERSONAL IMPOTENCE any clearer than that? Is it any wonder that people retreat into their joyless shells and stumble around like lifeless marionettes animated only by the strings controlled by those who aspire to “lead” them, while chanting, “I gotta get it done and I only have an hour to do it in?” This is a state that we have gradually and slowly, in infinitesimal increments allowed ourselves to be lulled into, NOT because we are ignorant, but because we trusted those in power, be it in religion, economy, education or the government to put our best interests before any profit margins or private agendas and we forget to ask necessary check-point questions. Where within this dismal picture is human dignity, beauty of the soul, fire of agape, joy of personal exchange and the brilliant solitude of the darkest night of the year breaking into the dawn of the first light of Christmas morning, ablaze with promise and life?

This question I actually have an answer to. That human dignity, beauty, fire, joy and light resides deep within the hearts of each and every one of us. It is within you, and can be discovered, nurtured, fed and replenished only by you. The flame can also be smothered, drowned, hidden and cut off from becoming a blazing torch, but again, that can only be done by you, to you, if you allow the influences of the idea of personal impotence to be your mantra, if you allow ‘engineered adult autism’ to be your choice. The one thing that you cannot do, however, is totally extinguish that flame, for there will always be a tiny glimmer remaining, and that spark will eternally be your connection with the Divine, your Soul and Spirit.

The first light of the dawn of Christmas day is given freely to all, as is the indwelling spark of Genesis. Dr. Strickler points out the fact that it is not the physical sun but our spiritual consciousness represented behind the physical mask of the sun in any system of creation. May this holy season rekindle within you the strength and desire to fan that flame and to break away from the desolate autism of the personal impotence which has been imposed upon you.

May you Find the that Light that Brightly shines within

Christine Ford

Editor

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Spiritual Climate Newsletter OCTOBER 2007 ~ part 2 ~ THE CHOICE IS YOURS: Part 2 , by Christine Ford

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The Choice Is Yours: Part 2

By Christine Ford

While cleaning out old files from my struggling, wheezing computer, I was “sorting the wheat from the chaff” in determining what to save to download onto our new Spiritual Climate computer. (Thanks again, Patty!) I found the beginning of an article from way back in March 2004 that never came to be finished, and was amazed at the appropriateness it held in light of that which I am experiencing right now. Interesting, how ideas pop in and begin to heat up, are put on the back burner to simmer for a while, then start boiling enough to catch our attention and end up being an enhanced version of what was originally begun, isn’t it? This article was prompted by my contemplation of the words “shallow and fragile” in relation to the seeking of “knowledge” as used by Dr. Strickler in the Interview he gave to Spiritual Climate regarding healing in “A Short Interview with Dr. David Strickler November 29, 2003”, published January 31st, 2004 (please note, this interview is unpublished on the blog as of yet). I found myself pondering those words and how they interplay in my path and in the journey of those around me. Dr. Strickler’s words which prompted this article are as follows:

“Simplicity unaided by knowledge renders an individual fragile.

People who are imbedded in the shallowness of their perception have pronation and vivid acumen towards simplistic answers. But simple answers don’t take us out of the platonic cave of shadows.

One must admit that there is a problem and that they are powerless over that problem due to the current level of knowledge they are able to exercise.”

I have come to the conclusion that the SHALLOWNESS and FRAGILITY of faith, love, understanding, communication, reasoning, dialogue, sincerity, and honesty that exist in this world have indeed created a society of lemmings rushing to the sea who DO, in fact, ceaselessly “ask, seek and knock”, as was also discussed in Dr. Strickler’s interview. The question is, however, the methods the masses employ as they “ask, seek and knock”, the danger and SHALLOWNESS of the “information only” answers with which they are pacified and placated instead of the pursuit of genuine KNOWLEDGE and the resulting FRAGILITY of that which is held in regard to be Spiritual by our society.

The shallowness and fragility of that which the generic metaphysical community presents as Spiritual certainly does lead their “consumers” to questions (asking) and a search (seeking), and a frenzy of running from place to place throwing away money and time on the latest fad technique in hopes of obtaining enlightenment (knocking). Generic metaphysics, in all its trappings and feel good techniques, masquerading as true Spirituality has created a body of horrifically shallow and fragile consumers for their products, just as the trend has gone in numerous areas of our twisted societal economy, engineered by the cunning analysts who view us all as “consumers” and nothing more. The shallowness and fragility of that which society at large and the metaphysical community specifically are asking, seeking and knocking in hopes of discovering, however, is a sad commentary that runs rampant, in an ever spiraling avalanche of confusion, depression and instant gratification of sensation. Their blissfully optimistic “Let Go and Let God” attitude, coupled now with the revelation of the so-called “”Secret” for all to know is just plain a blasphemy of Spirituality.

The way I am feeling right now, this could easily turn into a rant that could go for pages, but somehow, that isn’t what needs to be written. This goes far deeper than merely spouting off about what we have become and pointing out to you, the reader, that which you most likely are already aware of if you are honest with yourself, even if you are unable to admit it consciously or speak the words aloud. No, this discovery carries with it an intense sadness and sorrow that I cannot shake, a knowing that the masses are totally missing the mark, that they are living out the greatest of sins that could ever be committed. The gulf of disconnectedness from the Soul and Spirit which we were intended by the One Creator to explore within this negative plane of existence has grown in direct proportion to the insanity of our consumer driven mentality, being continually embellished upon and gleefully taken advantage of by those dangling the plastic carrot of “Spiritual Truth”.

The beauty and agape of participating in the ongoing Genesis that we have been granted by the One to create, discover and grow within has been bastardized and sacrificed. What was meant to be the exuberant, dynamic experience of LIFE has become an empty experience of living DEATH, a shallow, fragile shell of an existence, the Platonic cave of shadows as referred to in Dr. Strickler’s interview. We don’t need to be concerned about going to Hell after we die. We are living Hell each and every day through the illusions, lies and fantasies we create right here on Earth by misappropriating the power of choice and use of Free Will given to us so lovingly by The One God. As Dr. Strickler has pointed out, over and over, the answers are within the simple formula: ask, seek and knock.

But ask for WHAT? Seek WHAT? Knock for WHAT?

One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in my years as a student, and, if I am going to be perfectly honest, in my years before having even met Dr. Strickler, is developing the fine art of asking. Be it asking for help, for advice, for money, for assistance… Be it asking a question or for further clarification of a statement… Be it asking for love, or a touch, or that my needs be met… Be it asking someone for guidance or just to have a little bit of patience with me please… Be it asking if I can help someone in need… Be it asking for the time and space to be MYSELF! I think you get the picture.

Though this has changed considerably over the past five years, I still find myself confused and frustrated with my inability to verbalize a question or a need, in other words, to ASK. My pattern, which is changing, has been to just hope and pray that someone will read my mind and fulfill my needs. Then I have merely accepted, often begrudgingly but silently, that which came to me, whether it was what I wanted or not, and been outwardly thankful for whatever it was. Oh my God! Sounds sickeningly passive-aggressive, doesn’t it!? Know what? It’s even worse than that. It is a total denial and misuse of the power of Choice and use of Free Will that was given to me, as was given to us all, by The Creator.

What do you ask for? How do you ask? Do you ask or question at all? Or do you simply surrender your right to ask and allow yourself to be tossed about by the whims and wiles of the illusions of the masses, never having those questions that burn within you answered? Do you get so caught up in the daily minute to minute grind that you don’t even allow those questions to surface, or, perhaps, are you afraid of what those questions might be and the answers and work (GREAT WORK) they might bring?

As the Ancient Mystery Schools so succinctly query, WHAT DO YOU WANT? This is such a seemingly simple question, yet such a difficult one to answer. Only after years of being a serious student of a Spiritual Teacher am I finally beginning to formulate my answer to that, and even THAT is constantly changing and reforming, and that answer remains between me and The One.

You have to start somewhere though! Just consider for a moment the question, WHAT DO YOU WANT? Do you have an answer? Take some time to search your heart and mind, and when you find an answer, ASK FOR IT! GO FOR IT! MAKE IT SO! Have the balls to go beyond your fears and seeming limitations and put it into words, into action, into reality. At least you then are exercising the power of choice and taking some volitional steps to take your want out of your head and heart and put it into your waking conscious life. That is your right and your privilege as a human consciousness. Experience the freedom of taking the matter into your hands and voicing! ASK!

And next we SEEK! Personally, this one has seemingly (she says ever so cautiously, waiting for the Big Shoe to kick her in the ass) been the easiest for me! I have always been a seeker, haunting bookstores and attending lectures, listening to tapes and looking for information, but it has not been until very recently that I realized what I was a seeker OF! To seek is to search for, similar in a sense to asking, but more of a nonverbal quest, a journey! With seeking comes the discovery of answers through growth of the awareness of paradox, the dialogue about that paradox, the beauty of agape, and most importantly, the acquisition of KNOWLEDGE, not information peddling, through the Spiritual discovery process.

The journey of discovery of Who and What I truly Am, the Enlightenment, the Illumination, The Truth, The Beauty and The Love, all this and more lies at the far distant but ever growing closer end of my journey and is an infinitely unfolding process of discernment and sorting. Seeking is the process of moving from day to day and living life fully within the moment; it is hard work and tears, as well as times of sheer joy and laughter, but I do know what I am seeking. I am seeking Myself, and I can now state that freely and openly, and though it may sound exceedingly narcissistic to some, I really don’t care! I have come to know through my exposing and exploring my “Martyrdom Poor Me Complex” that I can help no one until I have become true to Who and What I Am and have been constantly attempting, though not always perfectly, to surrender my misconstrued ideas of personal will to the Will of the One, in other words, to put my personality and ego in its place!

That, my dear friends, is a lifetime after lifetime process which is by no means complete! I sincerely thank Dr. Strickler and Dianne for all that they have given and conveyed which has at least allowed me to be cognizant of what it is I seek within this lifetime! Now I ask a question of you, and I ask you to ponder for a moment.

What is it you seek? How do you seek it? Do you seek it at all? Or have you squandered your right to the attainment of that for which you were destined to the shallow and fragile insanity of the daily rat race? Are you going to be the gnarly old rat seeking only the generic metaphysical moldy old hunk of cheese when it is your birthright to be feasting upon the most succulent delicacies of the Elixir of Life in true Spiritual seeking? The choice, my friend, is yours, and, I remind you, so is the Karma.

Finally, this brings us to KNOCK, associated once more with asking! I’ve learned from experience, and am learning more clearly every day, that when you knock, you better damn well be ready to ASK when that door is opened! No mincing of words, stuttering, or DUH moments! You get to the point of knocking, and you better damn well be ready to open up your mouth!

OH MY GOD! While writing this I just had this gigantic AH-HA as to the realization of how crucial the skill of asking is: it not only precedes but is the foundation and fuel for the seeking and the knocking. I can just see Dr. Strickler laughing his ass off as he reads this part, because I just clicked into the fact that this has been an underlying current of my whole process since I arrived here in Phoenix five years ago on May 18, 2002, indeed, since I began this journey under Dr. Strickler’s guidance in February, 1992! Is this my gift of insight this year resulting from the energies of the Holy Season of Sirius? Well, Dr. Strickler, it may not make it any easier for me to actually voice those questions, I may still stutter and stammer looking for the appropriate words, but at last I’ve finally apprehended the SPIRIT of ASKING! It just never ceases to amaze me, the way in which knowing unfolds, opens and sometimes comes up and smacks you out of seeming nowhere in those moments when you are looking the other way! You all just witnessed an unedited glimmer of the joy of agape! Thank you Dr. Strickler!

Remember, you must SEEK the door assiduously, and be sure you have a question ready to ASK when it opens! But again, you must get up the gumption to KNOCK or your asking and seeking has been in vain!

Why did you knock? What were you hoping to find? Did you knock at all? Or did you pass by the door without even noticing that it was open a bit, that there was a dazzling light shining on the other side seeping through the cracks, and that the REAL YOU was on the other side, waiting for YOURSELF? Did you by pass the possibility of the exploration and opening to the reality of life and the ongoing creation of Genesis and choose instead the door of the masses of humanity who remain in the shallow and fragile existence of a living Hell? Again, the choice is yours.

I have lived my entire life, until quite recently, piously suffering under the self proclaimed illusion that I wanted to make the world a better place, to save the suffering masses, to help create world peace! I have taught handicapped kids for over 30 years now as a part of that “reality” that I created, and though I have seen some kids grow, I surely haven’t made the mark I set out to on the world! Geeze, I sounded like a fucking contestant for the Ms America Pageant! GET REAL!

I have finally come to know that the only person I can help is myself and everything I do is for ME! The only way I can hope to have even the smallest hand in aiding the “world” situation is to keep asking, seeking and knocking as I move along the path of Truth and Knowledge which I have chosen and then applying those truths and principles to my world. By growing in light and living those truths and principles to the best of my ability at any given moment, perhaps I may act as a catalyst for the growth of those I come into contact with. They may or may not choose to accept that which I have grown to be as I continue my process of “becoming”, and they may or may not choose to grow as well. That CHOICE belongs to each person, as does the freedom to exercise their God given use of Free Will to ask, seek and knock, in their quest for the knowledge that is their birth right.

ASK, SEEK and KNOCK! WHAT DO YOU WANT? Do you want the shallow, fragile life of information gathering, the illusion of the shadows dancing on the wall in Plato’s Cave created by those whose goal is to peddle a product and consider you nothing more than a consumer? Do you want the profoundly deep, powerfully strong life of knowledge, the truth and reality of that which only a Spiritual Teacher can reveal, whose goal is to guide you through the rough as well as smooth waters as you move closer to becoming Who and What you truly are? WHAT DO YOU WANT?

. . .May you choose wisely. . .

Christine Ford

Editor

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you know you want to do it: